ThisGuy, ThatGuy: "Get-it-done" guy v/s Functional Expert


In my previous This Guy, That Guy article I compared India and Europe. Today its the turn of two roles we have in almost all teams - the functional experts and the people who are responsible (officially or unofficially) for "geting-it-done".

There are good companies and then there are great companies. More often than not you will find successful grey-beards, heading these companies, musing  - "I had a great team". Do they ever mention that guy who knew absolutely everything about that machine or that girl who knew more C # than anybody on the floor? I wonder why?

For some reason the "heroes of the shop floor" don't seem to get their due at the top. Even the success stories are built around words like "leadership", "critical path", "mobilizing resources"... all that. Is the "get-it-done" guy more important than our favorite functional experts we totally adore?

I would say this would be a fair statement to make - functional expertise is only one of the things needed to succeed. It is pretty important for every team to have that expertise, but not as much as we tend to think it is. Sure... the cool unshaven guy with thick glasses, from the corner cubicle, has all the answers to your functional questions (about the product/service you are making)... but it's knowledge we are talking about. You still need a group of people working together through thick and thin to make it work.

I think I'll give my vote to that guy who has the emotional maturity to listen to people around him and takes the effort to react positively to situations (even when shit hits the fan. And yes Sir, it does hit sometimes)... or the guy who hates to miss the smallest of the deadlines and takes responsibility for the failure, no matter who or what the reason is.

There are different ways to describe leadership but I'd say - these guys are rare and it's their enterprising nature that moves the greatest companies forward. If they also happen to have good functional knowledge - well, that's perfect, isn't it?

2 comments:

  1. I really loved this post! Sprry for being a n00b, but can you relate geeks with functional expert?

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  2. I am glad you liked it :) I think Geeks quite often naturally fit into the role of a functional expert, provided it is their area of interest. If the poor guy ends up writing documents instead of doing what he is good at - then it obvisouly doesn't work.

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